This issue, themed 21st Century Cosmic Cool, was excitedly announced by the editors to be released on the same day as National Sponge Cake Day. In a newsletter, they even shared a gif in celebration, telling readers to come read the “spongiest litmag on the internet.” Although, spongy isn’t exactly the word I’d choose to describe this issue. La Petite Zine isn’t soaking up every poem it encounters, only the interesting, fresh, and arresting poems.
Gregory Sherl’s “IKEA is Scary,” had me easily entertained with great lines like “By afternoon Jesus’ fingers are splintered / from building IKEA furniture” and “I tell God That fucker holding the Earth looks tired. / This morning I wake up full of caged abdomens.” I also enjoyed—though did not understand—A. T. Grant’s “Dear Sister Wants to Share,” in which “Dead Sister” gives “Dead Brother” several of her teeth, pushing them into his mouth. These characters again appear in two more poems, including “Voices”:
a glow burns behind
Dead Sister’s ears I try
to touch the gleam and her ears
crumble like dead treebark
Dead Sister takes
the crumbles and tries
to press them back
into their bloody holes
she says too loudly
I can’t get them
to stick here
you eat them
In “52 Things Just in Case” by Liz Scheid, a mother gives advice to her unborn baby:
One day you’ll love.
I want you to love massively.
I want you to open the door to strangers.
Talk to the solicitors.
Talk to the religious.
Talk to the man selling a vacuum.
They chase fires.
Fires don’t always need to be put out.
Caroline Hagood’s “Playing Invisible Pac-Man” uses a simple concept like a broken hand-held game to develop the relationship between a father and his son and to show “that sometimes you want the abstract, perhaps even transcendent, / concept of an empty pool, but sometimes / you just want a nice cool swim.”
And how can you not read the rest of the poetry in this issue, especially with these intriguing titles: “Jane Fonda: Is a Time-Machine or Manifesto for the New Republic” (Paul Legault), “Day Cracks between the Bones of the Foot” (Jesse Nissim), “Andy Warhol with a Ukulele” (Hagood), and “Jesus, Join a Gym” (Sherl). So perhaps this issue isn’t spongy, but it is certainly succulent. And if reading it is an excuse to enjoy a piece of sponge cake, I’ll take it.